- Orlando most popular holiday location for domestic travellers this winter (ASTA)
- International buyers in Florida property market up 1% in 2014 (NAR)
- Florida as ‘desirable location’ top reason for buying, with 59% in 2014 claiming so (NAR)
Faux fur. Long boots. Over-sized scarves. Roll-neck jumpers. All key style trends for Autumn/Winter 2014/15. But when it comes to this season’s must-visit destination, where’s hot this wintertime, even as the weather turns cold?
According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Florida’s Orlando is top choice for those looking to the US over the 2014-15 winter season, with more US residents booking to visit the Sunshine State’s most popular hotspots than anywhere else in the country.
Receiving 41% of the recorded bookings, Orlando ranks far ahead of the key tourist destinations of Las Vegas (receiving 13% of bookings) and New York City (with just 6%), and as a state overall, Florida charges ahead of the pack, with 58% of ASTA-recorded bookings, far outweighing second-place Hawaii’s 20%, thus marking Florida, and Orlando specifically, out as the ‘in vogue’ locations for A/W 14/15.
This season Florida, with its much-loved winter sun, is being seen as ‘the’ place to visit, rounding off an outstanding year for the state in which it welcomed 11.2 million overseas visitors in the 2013-14 period, compared to 10.4 million for the previous year. The 7.7% increase year-on-year is substantially contributing to Florida’s economy, adding an additional $4.3 billion to the state’s coffers, an extra 6% according to Visit Florida, taking the 2013-2014 figure to $76.1 billion.
And with more tourists comes more employment. As a tourist destination grows to match demand, more staff are required to construct and staff these new developments, growing the need for additional rental housing within the local market. For this reason Florida is also solidifying its place as a much sought-after location for purchasing property. Whether it is to use as an income stream by renting the property to others, as a long-term investment to capitalise on the state’s expanding property prices, or as a combination of these factors, more and more people are seeing the Sunshine State as a hot property prospect this winter and onwards into 2015 and beyond.
In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has revealed in their ‘Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2014’ report that 10% of Florida’s residential market was made up of international sales this year, up 1% on the 2013 figure, and up an estimated $1.54 billion, or 24%, in terms of how much these foreign real estate purchases in Florida were worth in the year up to June 2014.
And the most important factor for influencing someone’s decision to purchase real estate in Florida? According to the NAR report, viewing the state as a ‘desirable location’ and increasingly so.
Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, who have been working in the Florida market bringing US properties to UK buyers for over a decade, explains more,
“Florida is certainly a stand-out location for those looking to invest in property, offering much potential and opportunity, and it is becoming more and more so. The NAR has shown that 54% of buyers in the state in 2013 saw Florida as a ‘desirable location’ in which to purchase and a year later, in 2014, this had increased to 59% putting this as their top reason to invest.
“Florida’s place as this year’s fashionable Autumn/Winter location for both holidaying and purchasing real estate, has also been backed publically by Floridian Governor Rick Scott who has increased public funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism body, by $10.5 million (according to the 2013-2014 Annual Report), taking public funding to a record $74 million for financial year 2014-2015. For this, and a whole host of reasons, buying in Florida is certainly ‘à la mode’ in 2014 and a wise choice looking forwards.”
Always ‘on trend’ with the projects they bring to market, property investment specialists Brookes & Co have just launched a new project in Florida that allows buyers to capitalise on the location as a hot destination this winter and beyond.
Offering a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs, The Club at Sunset Lake makes the ideal investment opportunity. This brand new gated development in the heart of central Florida, close to all major amenities, boasts luxurious facilities including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, and a lake front park and picnic area, making the most of the beautiful location. The two, three and four bedroom properties are spacious, the larger properties also with garages, and priced from £96,950.
With the fashion world already looking ahead to A/W 15/16, it is clear that some things in fact never go out of fashion – and Florida may well be one of those.